We live in a world where consumers want more detailed product information at their fingertips, brands are focused on loyalty and trust, regulators want transparency and compliance with the latest standards, and distributors want to reduce costs.
There is no doubt that technology can be harnessed to fulfill these various wants and needs, but in a world of increasingly complex global supply chains, the task seems far from straightforward. This is particularly the case in the food sector, where traceability must be mastered without compromising on competitiveness.
Over complication has become a turn-off, and cost pressures hold companies back from exploring the full range of options available. Yet a multifunctional channel that can serve all these purposes at once exists in the form of a secure, unique and interactive code for every single product.
We now have the technology where each product is given its own unique digital DNA—a window into the information each actor needs, whether that’s to track, trace, authenticate or safeguard.
Just as customers are unique, traceability concerns demand we acknowledge and record the uniqueness of each product from inception to consumption. While it physically progresses through the supply chain—starting with the production of the various ingredients and components—at the same time by assigning it a unique code it is possible to open up an interactive highway of information that can be simply navigated.
Through digital mass encryption, companies can be empowered to meet each unique customer’s specific demands for information. While some consumers are looking for reassurances with regards to food safety, others are more interested in ethical standards or nutritional needs. In order to meet these varied demands, manufacturers need to have a technology solution that can handle mass codes—hundreds of billions or even trillions— without the fear of a security breach. At the same time, it needs to be simple to operate and integrate, as well as inexpensive.
Take a hypothetical legendary craft brewer, Forrester Fine Ales of Cambridge. Through digital mass encryption they can not only identify in real time when shipments go astray, and as a result may become compromised, but through the same channel, the same code, consumers can authenticate the product should counterfeit versions ever arise.
Another step further could see the brewer reward consumers that scan the code using their smartphone, for example with a discounted future purchase, enabling the company to collect information regarding their customers and nurture brand loyalty.
It is this ability to make products both unique and interactive that not only delivers full transparency, but also stands to permanently transform the way consumers and companies relate and engage. The interactive nature of the code, which can be read with no more than a smartphone and an internet connection, opens up various marketing, data collection and communication opportunities for companies and consumers. It can be harnessed to serve multiple purposes at once, from safety and compliance to marketing.
This is more than simply a number or a code. It is a powerful and exciting connection to a world of information—an interactive highway that builds loyalty and trust, and places consumers at the heart of a digital value chain.